A 19-year-old yeshivah student and off-duty Israel Defense Forces’ recruit was stabbed to death in the West Bank on Wednesday evening. His body was discovered by a search team early Thursday morning after relatives reported that they were unable to contact him.

Security forces launched a large-scale manhunt for the killer of Dvir Sorek, who they believe was first abducted and killed elsewhere before being taken to the site in the Gush Etzion region where his body was found. He was not in uniform.

“We have concluded that this was a terror attack,” said IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Menalis. The slain youth was a resident of Ofra in the Binyamin region of Samaria and a student at Machanaim Yeshivah in Migdal Oz in Gush Etzion as part of a program that combines Torah study and military service. He had begun recruitment in the IDF but had not yet served, and was still in the studying stage at the yeshivah, said the spokesman, who noted that the victim was from a well-known family in Judea and Samaria.

Sorek’s father, Yoav, is a journalist for the newspaper Makor Rishon and editor of HaShiloach, a scholarly journal. His mother, Rachel, is an artist. He is also survived by six brothers and sisters. The young man’s grandfather, Rabbi Binyamin Herling, an educator and Holocaust survivor, was killed in a terrorist attack on Mount Ebal in the West Bank in October 2000.

Sorek’s uncle, Menachem Borenstein, described his nephew as a tzaddik, or righteous person. “He loved everyone and everyone loved him,” said Borenstein. “He was a symbol of the love of mankind.”

Rabbi Shlomo Vilk, head of the yeshivah where Sorek studied, said that the student served as the gabbai, or chief congregational assistant at his school, and described him as “the cornerstone of the yeshivah.” Sorek was returning from a trip to Jerusalem on Wednesday to buy year-end gifts for his teachers on behalf of his classmates.

“He was found with the books that he had bought for his rabbis,” said Vilk.

“One of our challenges is to be careful not to translate this murder into feelings of hatred, fear and isolation,” said Vilk. “We cannot let them drag us down and become like our enemy.”